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Set on Barbados’ sheltered west coast, Holetown was the first British settlement on Barbados. Finding a safe landing point in a local stream, known as ‘The Hole’, the first settlers established a community here in 1627. Today, Holetown is known for its understated but exclusive atmosphere, good shopping and restaurants, and white sandy beach lapped by clear, calm waters. With upmarket hotels, a local marine park, and a scenic boardwalk, it makes a good base for a tranquil break relaxing on the beach, dining like a king, or snorkeling, diving or kayaking in azure waters.

Barbados’ west coast is known for its white sands and turquoise waters, and the beach at Holetown is part of the ‘Platinum Coast’ a long stretch of soft sands fringed by swaying palms. The beach here is safe for swimming and a popular spot for kayaking, waterskiing and jet skiing. You can also take a tour in a glass-bottom boat, snorkel with turtles, or try stand-up paddleboarding.

A boardwalk along the seafront lends itself to leisurely walking and if you continue north along the path you’ll come to the Folkestone Marine Park which protects the coral reefs and marine life along the west coast. The park is divided into different zones so motor sports are separated from paddle sports and you can snorkel in the inshore reef to see sea anemones, sea lilies, corals and sponges, kayak or paddleboard, or go wreck diving on the artificial outer reef. The park also has a museum and aquarium which offers a good introduction to the marine life of the island.

Holetown also provides some good shopping opportunities with the upmarket Limegrove Lifestyle Centre offering high-end boutiques and jewelers. For local crafts and souvenirs, head to the Best of Barbados in Chattel Village, which sells prints and oil paintings, tableware, local confectionery, cooking sauces, spices and sugar, Bajan music and books, and opal and larimar jewelry.

You’ll find plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants along the waterfront, many serving local specialities such as cou cou (cornmeal and okra) and flying fish, bakes (a local version of pancakes), and pudding and souse (pickled pork with sweet potato).

Holetown really comes to life however, in February during the Holetown Festival, a week-long celebration that includes street fairs and parades, nightly shows, live music, history talks, bus tours and crafts, as well as lots of vibrant costumes, good cheer and Bajan fun.

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